Butts replaces Richards on senior selection panel
By Tony Cozier
June 21, 2004
SIR Viv Richards has been removed from the West Indies' selection panel ahead of what is likely to be a dramatic change in the way teams are chosen in future.
Following its annual general meeting in Georgetown, Guyana, on Friday and Saturday, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said in a media release that it has "accepted in principle" a review of the team's management structure "that would have an impact on the role of selectors".
It stated that Richards was "unavailable" after revealing that he was contracted as part of the BBC's Test Match Special team for the current West Indies tour of England.
It was an indication either that the former captain, one of the most imposing personalities in the game, had jumped before he was pushed after serving two years as chairman of the panel or that he was not prepared to operate under a changed mandate.
He was under increasing pressure following captain Brian Lara's open criticism of the exclusion of a specialist spinner from the eleven for the first Test of the series against Bangladesh last month and formal complaints from some players, to the WICB through the Players Association, against his authoritarian methods.
Sir Viv Richards
Joey Carew and Gordon Greenidge, both former Test openers, are retained on an interim committee that will function over the next two months while the management's reorganisation is completed, the WICB reported.
Former Guyana and West Indies off-spinner Clyde Butts replaces Richards.
Carew, the 67-year-old former Trinidad and Tobago captain who has been on and off the panel since the 1970s, takes over as chairman.
The WICB gave no details of how the duties of the selectors would change under the new arrangement that, it noted, would go into effect after the ICC Trophy tournament in England at the end of September.
Informed speculation is that, under the recommendations of the review committee headed by WICB vice-president Val Banks, they would become advisers to the head coach whose authority would be extended to have final say over team composition.
It would represent a radical change.
West Indies teams have always been chosen by selectors nominated by the WICB, along with the captain and, occasionally in more recent times, the coach.
Gus Logie, the dynamic batsman and fielder in the era of Richards' captaincy, was promoted from assistant coach last year when Bennett King, head of the Australian Academy, turned down the offer to replace Roger Harper in the post.
He has been in charge the team since the home series against Australia last year but rejected an offer to join the selection committee.
He is likely to revert to his original position as the WICB seeks a new, more assertive head coach, probably a foreigner who would not be inhibited by the insular baggage that afflicts much of West Indies cricket.
THE RICHARDS ROLLER-COASTER
June, 1999: Appointed interim coach when Malcolm Marshall was stricken with his terminal illness during the World Cup in England.
November, 1999: Appointed coach of the West Indies team to New Zealand that lost both Tests and all five one-day internationals.
February, 2000: Replaced as coach by Roger Harper, a decision that sparked violent protests from fans in Antigua who attacked the WICBÆs offices.
May, 2002: Appointed chairman of the selection panel.
June, 2004: Replaced on the selection panel because of unavailability through his contract to cover the West Indies tour of England for BBC radio. Ends.